Gargash opens Twitter account

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, is thought to be one of the first federal ministers to personally maintain a Twitter account.

Dr. Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and the Minister of State for the Federal National Council Affairs talks about the upcoming FNC Fall election to an audience of police and military officers on Monday, June 27, 2011, at the Police Officers Club in Abu Dhabi. (Silvia Razgova/The National)
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DUBAI // The minister in charge of overseeing the upcoming Federal National Council elections has launched an official Twitter account to communicate with the public.

Dr Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, will personally tweet in Arabic about progress toward the elections on September 24.

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He is thought to be the first federal minister to personally maintain a Twitter account.

The election season starts today with the opening of registration for candidates wishing to run. The candidates can submit nomination papers at the specified centres across the country from today until Wednesday from 3am until 3pm, the state news agency Wam reported.

The National Election Commission (NEC) will announce the preliminary list of candidates on August 20 giving the candidates the time to appeal, while the final list of candidates will be announced on August 28 and the deadline for withdrawal is September 21.

"For those interested in the elections, I hope this channel will be a tool to communicate with everyone," said Dr Gargash, who tweets under the handle @AnwarGargash.

The move has been welcomed by political commentator and prolific Twitter user, Sultan Al Qassemi.

"By personally tweeting, Dr Gargash is setting an example for others to make themselves available to the citizens that they ultimately serve and are accountable to," he said.

Twitter has been used by several government agencies, most recently by Dubai and Abu Dhabi Police, in a bid to improve communications with the public.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, opened a Twitter account, @HHShkMohd, in June 2009. He has close to 500,000 followers.